Politician urges Portsmouth council to take on Pompey trademark

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A SENIOR councillor has suggested the city council should trademark Pompey instead of Portsmouth Football Club.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson has written to chief executive Mark Catlin at the Blues and his Portsmouth City Council counterpart David Williams.

Fratton Park

Fratton Park

The Lib Dem councillor wants the local authority to trademark the name and then licence it out for use in football to the Fratton Park side.

It comes as Mr Catlin told of Pompey’s ambitions to reach the Premier League and protect itself and fans from unscrupulous traders using the nickname.

In an e-mail to Mr Catlin and Mr Williams, Councillor Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I know (trademarking Pompey) is a sensible thing for the club to do but I have had concerns expressed by others in the city.

‘I wonder if a way forward would be for the city council to take out a copyright on the name of Pompey and then grant a licence to the football club in perpetuity for anything in relation to football but keep it open to all other users in the city to be able to use the word Pompey for free.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson

‘I’m sure that the current owners of the club would not abuse any copyright granted on the word Pompey but over the years I have worked with several different owners of the club who had different standards, and we just don’t know what any new owners might do in the years to come.’

Pompey has declined to comment on the suggestion. Mr Catlin had said no existing business with Pompey in its name would be affected by the move – but there has been a mixed reaction.

Speaking in The News on Tuesday, Mr Catlin said the club, owned by Tornante, would be ‘good custodians’ of the name.

A top trademark lawyer advising the club said the application would not be designed to encumber any ‘ongoing trading activities whatsoever’.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the city council, said she was disappointed with Cllr Vernon-Jackson.

Yesterday she said: ‘I’m disappointed that Gerald Vernon-Jackson has written to the council’s chief executive today to suggest that Portsmouth City Council consider trademarking the word Pompey.

‘As a former leader of the council he knows this is not a decision for civil servants but a political decision.

‘I’m even more disappointed that Gerald is yet again not supporting the football club particularly when they have made clear that this would not affect any businesses in the city that use the name Pompey.’

She added it looked like ‘opportunism’ ahead of the local elections and wish Pompey the ‘best of luck’ in the final games of the season.